Throwing the Moon a Party
(This is a reworking of a midrash as a children's story written for 'Shabbatots', Sinai Synagogue's Early Years Education)
Throwing the Moon a Party – a Short Story Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz
Long, long ago, when God created the Sun and the Moon on the fourth day of Creation, God made them both very, very beautiful. Both were very round, very bright and very, very large. The Sun and Moon lived in the sky and they worked together very well and were best friends.
The Sun worked hard to shine on the earth by day. Because of him, plants and crops could grow so people could eat and the Earth was bright and warm. People loved the sun. Who doesn’t love a warm summer day? (Especially in Winter!)
The Moon also worked very hard to shine on the Earth by night. Because of her, people could find their way in the dark to go home to sleep. No-one bumped into each other and no-one got lost in the middle of the night! People felt safe. The night is a special time to share stories and love.
For a long time, the beautiful sun and the pretty moon were very happy together. But as time passed, the moon heard people comment on how much they loved the sun more and more. And slowly, the moon started getting a little jealous. “Why don’t they love me just as much? Because of me, people don’t fall into rivers or get lost in woods. Because of me, people can sleep at night.” As she sulked, she slowly discovered what the problem was: although she was very big, she was quite a bit smaller than the sun! The moon gathered her silver light about her and encouraged by some of the Stars who were even smaller and less bright, she went to God. “God,” she said, “why did You make me smaller and less bright than the sun? And why do I get to shine only at night? It’s not fair!”
God realized the mistake that had happened and starting thinking. “Maybe the Moon is right: maybe it’s not fair at all. People should be kinder to the moon and realise all the hard work the moon puts in to shine for everyone.” Because God had already created the Sun and Moon, nothing could be changed. The Moon couldn’t be made larger to fit the Sun and the Sun couldn’t be made smaller to fit the Moon. So God went away and wondered… and wondered… and thought… and thought. Then, all of a sudden, God knew what could be done to fix the problem! God called all the people together: “Dear people,” God said, “it’s not really nice to treat the Sun better than the Moon just because he shines brighter and during the day. Let’s try and make up to the Moon. And we’ll do that by throwing a party for the Moon every month. Every month, you will come together and sing songs for the Moon and eat a tasty meal of good food in the moonlight. And everyone will have a splendid time and the Moon won’t feel lonely and small anymore.”
The people thought this was a great idea and they started making preparations right away. They baked beautiful round cakes, as round and white as the moon, which they sprinkled with seeds like the stars. They got pots of butter and jars of honey and jam. They set out lovely china and silverware. They brought fruit and sandwiches and made piping hot chocolate to warm up the chilly night. They brought their drums and guitars and sat around in a circle, holding hands and singing for the Moon.
Meanwhile, the Moon sat up high in the sky and felt so loved! How many friends did she have! And wasn’t it marvelous to see people throw a big party in her honour! She felt so happy that she forgot about her quarrel with the Sun and decided to join the party every month. And this is how God solved the problem between the Sun and Moon and how we Jewish people have come to celebrate Rosh Chodesh, the New Moon festival.
So next time when you look up at the sky and see the Moon, you will know that she will feel so much less lonely. Even the Moon needs a friend!
- Based on a Midrash from Talmud Bavli Hullin 60b